Environmental values, pluralism, and stability

Ethics, Place and Environment 7 (1 & 2):73 – 83 (2004)
Abstract
While an environmental ethic is not explicitly developed in A Theory of Justice, or Political Liberalism, it is possible to extrapolate some principles dealing with non-human nature, and thereby some environmental protections, with what Rawls provides. However, his inability to provide a non-anthropocentric environmental ethic might threaten the stability of a 'well-ordered' society, and this possibility gestures to the potential 'problem' of pluralism in general. Certain environmentalists will be dissatisfied with the status of their environmental values in a Rawlsian society. If the group is 'unreasonable', then while they are not technically threats to 'stability' (in that they are not part of the 'overlapping consensus' to begin with), they might instead be threats to the well-orderedness of the society. If the group is 'reasonable', Rawls must hope that they will also agree with enough of the political conception of justice, and be swayed by appeals to reasonableness, that they will join in the overlapping consensus despite their environmental concerns. There appear to be reasons to believe that, at least given a well-ordered society, this will often be the case.
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